Terrorist Detention and Inattention
by PRESIDENTIAL POLICY: DOES IT MAKE THE GRADE?, JAMES JAY CARAFANO, PHD
December 14, 2011
At year’s end it is time to reflect on what was not accomplished over the last year. President Obama has a lot to reflect on. Topping the list of what Obama did not get done this year wasto establish a viable long-term policy for the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. That issue came to the fore last week as the Congress wrestled with Defense authorization Bill. Frustrated with the lack of leadership from the White House on this issue, Congress inserted its own guidelines in the measure. That prompted an angry response from the President. “The White House had objected to several sections of the bill, especially a measure requiring military custody for suspects linked to Al Qaeda,” The Detroit News reported, “Obama had threatened to veto the legislation, even though it included a waiver permitting the Secretary of Defense to override some sections.”
Hizbollah senior leader Ali Musa Daqduq, captured in Basrah in March 2007.
The stand-off between the White House and the Congress reflects the ambivalence in Obama’s attitude toward dealing with a key component of the war on terror. More evidence of the president’s inattentiveness was also reported by David Rivkin and Charles Stimson in the Wall Street Journal. “Call it the triumph of ideology over national interest and honor. Having dithered for nearly three years, the Obama administration has only a few weeks to bring to justice a Hezbollah terrorist who slaughtered five U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2007,” they wrote, “Unfortunately, it appears more likely that Ali Musa Daqduq will instead be transferred to Iran, to a hero's welcome.” They also argue, “There is an obvious solution: Transfer Daqduq from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to be tried by a military commission there. But this is where the Obama administration's rigid ideology comes into play—beginning with flawed, self-defeating legalistic arguments.” If the White House brought new detainees to Guantanamo Bay, that would be seen as a violation of the President’s pledge to close the facility—and honoring that pledge is more important for making his “base” happy for the next election than bringing a murder to justice.
For this week Obama gets a grade of “D” for continuing to botch detainee policy.